Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle Classes for the Portuguese senior community.

I made a little announcement before Christmas that I was going to be delivering nutrition and healthy lifestyle classes to the local senior university.

Due to the world wide ‘C’ the start date kept getting put back but I have finally started!

I didn’t really know what to expect but I knew that nobody spoke English… and I don’t speak Portuguese well enough!              

So when I put together my lesson plan I wrote it in English and then translated it to Portuguese. The lady who runs the whole operation speaks English and she said she would be there so I breathed a little sigh of relief. Little did I know that was she just stopping by to unlock the door and introduce me…then leave. My phone had no signal so I couldn’t even Google translate if I got really stuck!

Talk about going in the deep end.

I also thought we would be sat around a table having a conversation in a less formal way, but nope.

When I walked in the room it was a proper class room, with a white board and an interactive white board and individual desks for each person. I even had my own desk and chair at the front with the register all ready for me to call out.

I really wasn’t expecting that!

The students were really amazing, I apologised time and time again for my terrible Portuguese and I think being English with not really an accent it feels weird to put one on, but for the pronunciation of words it’s really important.

Everyone helped me and corrected me if I got something wrong and if I really got something wrong I showed them the word I had written down and then they understood and let the others know.

Now I chose the name for the class nutrition and healthy lifestyle because I didn’t want to be tied in to just talking about nutrition, but I want to give general health education.

For the first class we went through the eat well plate, now I know everyone has probably seen this before but I explained that to make better choices for our health it helps to understand the ‘why’ behind it. So instead of just pointing out the different types of food groups we went through what macronutrients and micronutrients are, why they’re important and how your body utilises each one. Also the importance of a varied diet so your body is getting all the micronutrients it needs and explained that they all work together in order for the body to absorb and utilize.

I suffered immense anxiety the whole day leading up to this, to the point I was on the verge of being sick, and that was mostly because I had to deliver the class in language I don’t speak. When I got there I told the students I was nervous, they were all so nice and said it doesn’t matter, you will be fine, they were all just so welcoming and friendly and made me feel relaxed. I lost my place several times at the beginning getting a bit flustered but we got through, and they all took something away from it and learnt a lot

I apologised again at the end of the class for my bad Portuguese but they said it’s actually good for them to help them with English also.

As you can probably imagine it’s actually been a great help already for my Portuguese and I have certainly learnt a lot of patterns with the tenses. Of course I have learnt very specific topics of conversations but I don’t think a lot of these would enter my Portuguese vocabulary if I didn’t need to know them for this.

Next time the class is going to be all about bone health! This time I have practiced speaking the class out loud which I didn’t do before, I just did it in my head, but I can already see that speaking out loud is a much better way of doing it.

I’m much more confident for the next class!

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